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Bend city survey: Voters would support 10-cent gas tax


The city of Bend needs $80 million to clear a backlog and fix its roads.

“The roads in Bend have been deteriorating over the past eight years or so since the recession,” city Streets Director David Abbas said Monday.

The city hired a Portland-based research firm to conduct a survey on the gas tax. More than 60 percent of those surveyed said Bend’s roads are in poor or very poor condition.

“If we were to give them a letter grade. we’re currently at a high D,” Abbas said.

To get to a solid B, the city needs that $80 million (and counting).

“Oh, it’s extremely important,” said City Councilor Victor Chudowsky.

City councilors have been talking about a possible gas tax, ranging from 5 to 10 cents a gallon, to fill the hole in the budget.

According to the survey, more than 60 percent of voters questioned support a 10-cent gas tax. That would mean a gallon of gas would cost around $3.08, which means you would pay an extra $1.30 to fill up a 13-gallon tank. If the increase was 5 cents, you would pay less than a dollar.

But it may not go to the polls this fall – at least, not if some councilors have their way.

“I think it is premature to be running out to voters for a gas tax,” Chudowsky said. “We should look under every cushion and under every rock first.”

Other councilors disagreed and said there is not any extra money available in an already tight budget.

“The budget has been squeezed for years now,” said City Councilor Barb Campbell. “We’re going on a full decade now.”

Many departments, especially the Police Department, saw major budget cuts during the recession. Campbell said they have asked for one additional officer, instead of the eight they actually need.

“I feel like they’ve already done so much cutting within their own departments,” Campbell said.

One big difference from the recession years is that the city’s revenue has been going up again.

“All the departments still get an increase, maybe just not the ones that they were expecting,” Chudowsky said.

Councilors also raised the point of visitors having to pay the same gas tax, which could help out the city, since the state does not charge a sales tax.

City Councilor Sally Russell noted during the meeting that councilors have been going over the budget for months and that it was a time for action. The longer the city waits, the more the repairs will cost.

Meanwhile, gas dealers that have stated they will oppose a gas tax released their own survey on Monday, which showed about two-thirds of voters opposed a gas tax — nearly half strongly opposed.

A link to the city’s survey results can be found on its Facebook page at

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